FASHION & VIRTUAL REALITY IN THE FRONT ROW
A decade ago when the first iPhone came onto the scene we never knew how it would change our lives. Very much like smartphones, virtual reality (VR) is referred to as a new medium of human association by many experts. And for this reason, VR along with augmented reality has taken the world by storm. Let’s find out how fashion & virtual reality has been able to drive growth by tapping emerging markets.
Fashion & Virtual Reality – A Powerful Digital Medium
VR has the potential of being even bigger than mobile. Before we conclude anything with certainty we have to wait and see how the technology adapts.
With that being said, we cannot ignore the serious momentum building in the VR space. Recently, HTC Vive has announced the alliance of venture capital projects based on VR tech. It is comprised of 27 different firms. This initiative gathered a deployable capital of $10 billion.
In October 2018, Steam has reported adding over 1000 new VR users on a daily basis. It has more than 600 apps of VR already on its platform.
The heavyweights of the tech world are also introducing new VR products. These include Spectacles from Snapchat and Oculus Rift from Facebook. According to Goldman Sachs, the revenue from the technology will increase from $80 billion to $182 billion by the year 2025. So, a tremendous amount of potential is there.
How the fashion industry can benefit from it?
There are plenty of opportunities for the fashion world with this technology. Besides the obvious such as accessories for virtual reality headsets. At the enterprise level, the first step is to create the design and development tools. A more digital experience will enable retailers to save a lot of money and time. The reason behind that is they don’t have to sift through thousands of samples of garments.
The virtual simulations of the stores can be very beneficial for the retailers too. For instance, ShopperMX has a VR platform (developed by InContext Solutions). It provides retailers with a facility of experimenting with the display, layout, and signage. Moreover, they don’t have to commit the resource or time to create and test various elements.
The exponential growth depends upon the consumer adoption of this technology. Tommy Hilfiger in 2015 was the first major fashion brand to use VR in the stores. It invited the shoppers to immerse in the digital experience of its fashion show for the winter collection.
Coach is doing the same by allowing access to its runway show to the consumers. The Gap has joined the party too. However, it went a slightly different way. Gap allows its customers to try on the ranges in a digital world created with augmented reality.
In addition, many AR applications are directed towards the objective of trying the clothes on. Brands along with retailers are now working on this idea specifically. Beauty brands are also doing the same by launching AR applications. Users can download and try out the products by using a filter on their smartphones.
Does it add any value, or is it all just a publicity stunt?
The power of that VR or AR applications relies heavily on the data collection process. For instance, Metail which is a company based in London and it is a virtual fitting room corporation and it has an application that provides the solution of trying your clothes before you buy them.
One of its partners in India uses data collection to find out that the Indian market is not a uniform demographic. The people in the South are shorter than the people in the North. For this reason, the customers were not matching the clothes that were cut. Another one of the Metail’s partners also has this problem.
For this reason, resourcing that garment was the better option for them to match the demographic requirements. We can see that the VR market is still in its infancy. A lot of fashion brands are also very reluctant to adopt this new technology. This is very similar to the case when e-commerce hit the scene and brands were not willing to sell anything online.
How could Fashion & virtual reality together change the Fashion Industry?
Fashion brands can tap into the potential that virtual reality has, through the following opportunities:
- Reduce costs and can limit work processes
Planning for new lines can definitely take a lot of time. The involvement of too many complex processes and time hindrances can negatively influence the production capacity. VR can change all that.
- Sharing the products with multiple entities at the same time
The designers can share their work with customers as well as colleagues at the same time. The designers also get the option to display a number of lines at the same time using different combinations.
- Act globally without leaving your country
A designer can easily operate as an international brand and work with global partners. With the virtual showroom, all this becomes very simple to manage. They can display all of their current designs.
- Save a lot of time of the consumers
People have shifted to online shopping. They don’t want to spend half of their day standing in queues. Well, VR is here to change all that.
It’s too early to make any judgment on the synergistic effect of Fashion & virtual reality. If VR is going to make any ripples in the fashion industry then consumers need to adopt it. Otherwise, it will end up just like those 3D TVs.